northern ireland

Home rule

When does working from home end in the UK?

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  • When does working from home end in the UK? Now that Prime Minister Boris Johnson has outlined plans to learn to ‘live with Covid’, many are wondering if they will have to return to office soon.

    Before Omicron symptoms emerged as a new variant, many people were slowly returning to work from the office. In a sign of a slow return to some normalcy, research from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) suggested that the seven in 10 people returning in November 2021 were relishing the chance to work somewhere different. But with a spike in cases, the government activated plan B and we went back into a kind of lockdown – with restrictions on working outside the home.

    Now lifted as part of Plan A measures, another return to the office looks promising for those looking to resume their new routine. But the rules set by the UK government don’t apply everywhere in the UK when it comes to Covid-19, so that’s what you need to know.

    When does working from home end in England?

    the work from home is now over in England, following the Prime Minister’s statement in the House of Commons on 19 January. This means that from January 20, anyone who does not want to work from home does not have to – provided their office is open.

    Mr Johnson said: ‘From now on the government is no longer asking people to work from home and people should now talk to their employers about the arrangements for returning to the office.

    As well as scrapping working from home, the Prime Minister announced that proof of double vaccination was not required to enter places of entertainment. He also confirmed that people could stop wearing face masks in many public places as all Plan B measures, put in place during Omicron’s peak in December, were coming to an end.

    “The latest data from the ONS today clearly shows infection levels are falling in England,” he said. “And while there are places where cases are likely to continue to rise, including in primary schools – our scientists believe it’s likely that the Omicron wave has now peaked nationwide. “

    When Plan B restrictions were in place, guidelines changed to encourage those who could work from home to do so again. However, many offices remained open during this time, having been closed for the previous three closures.

    When does working from home end in Scotland?

    The work from home rule is should end in early February. It is however still in place at the moment, with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon suggesting Scotland will return to a “more hybrid approach” from the start of next month.

    Credit: Getty

    She said Scotland was “entering a calmer phase of the pandemic again” but there was still “significant pressure” on the health service due to the latest wave of coronavirus.

    Official guidance on the Scottish Government website reads: ‘From 17 December 2021, by law businesses, places of worship and service providers must take reasonable steps to minimize the risk of incidence and spread of the coronavirus. Supporting employees to work from home whenever possible is an important part of this. »

    When does the work from home law end in Wales?

    The work from home requirement in Wales, enacted last year, will end on January 28, 2022. Unlike other countries, Wales has enshrined its work-from-home requirement in law. From this date at the end of January, it will evolve to become an orientation.

    Although the government has stressed that this is in no way an encouragement to return to the office and that staff should not be ‘forced or pressured to return’ after this date unless necessary important business.

    Official guidelines say that from January 28, “working from home remains important but moves from law to guidance”. Also from this date in Wales:

    • Discotheques will be able to reopen
    • Covid passes will not be required for large indoor events, nightclubs, cinemas, theaters and concert halls
    • There will be no restrictions on dating
    • No table service requirements in hospitality areas, nor the need to keep a physical distance of 2 meters.

    This means that those who wish to work from a desk should be able to do so, subject to approval from their workplace.

    Although there is some skepticism that lateral flow testing could produce a false negative or positive, this is unlikely. The UK’s four nations have urged people to keep testing regularly and take their boosters to keep reducing the spread of the virus.

    When does the rule end in Northern Ireland?

    The advice in Northern Ireland is to work from home if possible.

    In November last year, Health Minister Robin Swann said he believed anyone working from home should do so again. But he acknowledged that not all employers have the means to continue this situation any longer.

    Woman working from home

    People in Northern Ireland should continue to work from home if possible, Credit: Getty

    So, although the work from home guidelines in Northern Ireland have been reiterated by the executive, it is not the law.

    However, companies must comply with a legal obligation to guarantee a social distance of 2 m in the workplace. And where this cannot be achieved, the company should help apply other mitigation measures to reduce the spread of the virus.

    Can I still work from home if I wish?

    If you want to work from home after the guidelines are lifted, you should talk to your employer.

    The Prime Minister has removed all requirements to work from home. Now employers have the power to dictate whether it is mandatory for staff to be in the office at work or whether they can work from home as they used to.

    But as the government removed restrictions, some employers have been told they need to put measures in place to protect employees. This includes requirements such as good office ventilation.

    Anyone employed for at least 26 weeks by a company also has the right to request flexible working. This may include a request to work from home. Employers are required by law to deal with such claims in a ‘reasonable’ way and if they are found not to have done so, the employee can take them to an employment tribunal.

    Such requests can of course be refused by employers, however, if there is a valid reason. For example, if there are any security risks associated with working from home.

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    Home rule

    The story of over a century of Home Rule debates in Scotland

    I VERY rarely plan months in advance and often start this column on a Monday morning without a clue of what I’m about to write – no doubt many of you will have noticed. So the other day, when a piece of Facebook comedy was brought to my attention by a reader, I felt that there was more than just a kernel of story there.

    I first saw “A Warning from Ireland” on Facebook in the run-up to the 2014 referendum, but it was re-posted the other day. He states: “Between 1889 and 1914 Irish Home Rule was debated 15 times in Westminster and there were four Home Rule bills. Nothing has changed.”

    How many Scots know that between 1886 and 1900 Scottish Home Rule was debated seven times in Westminster? How many Scots know that in 1894 and 1895 the Commons voted for a Home Rule resolution but ran out of parliamentary time? How many knows that in 1913 the Scottish Federal Government Bill was introduced in the House of Commons and the proposal was supported by 204 votes to 159? Only the outbreak of World War I stopped its implementation or we could have had a decentralized Scottish legislature a century ago.

    Almost a mythology developed about how Scotland always adhered to the Incorporated Union that was inflicted on us in 1707. Yes, there was a long time, say after the Jacobite Uprising of 1745 until ‘in the 1850s, when Scotland took the building of the British Empire to heart and is doing quite well, but as I have shown in recent chronicles, the Union has not been a great success in the start.

    During the first half of the 19th century, Westminster was very happy to be decentralized in many of its functions, and the councils and boards of directors largely dealt with matters of governance, so the Scots were content to take care of business.

    With Sir Walter Scott in the foreground, however, as the turn of the 19th century wore on, many people began to worry about the loss of Scottish citizenship – and this was also not based on the class, because the workers and the middle classes worried about this cultural and political creep. intimidation.

    The National Association for the Defense of Scottish Rights was formed in 1853, but was short-lived and had little political impact. But her main complaints – that Scotland was under-represented in Parliament and that Scotland did not receive sufficient income for the huge sums it contributed to the Treasury – sparked heated debate, but it fizzled out in 1856.

    The Liberals controlled Scotland for decades, but by the 1880s the party was struggling with its Home Rule policy for Ireland, and as a result of this question a Scottish Home Rule Association was started in 1886, the same year that Keir Hardie and others started their labor movement and the following year the Scottish office was founded in support of the Home Rulers.

    It is extraordinary to remember the great debate on Scottish Home Rule in the House of Commons that took place in 1889 – the first time it was fully debated in parliament, and a rather astonishing event, frankly, which almost been forgotten.

    MP Robert Bontine Cunninghame Graham said on this historic day, April 9, 1889: “In view of the great pressure that will soon be brought to bear on this House by social causes on the part of the Scottish electorate, we have not come. here with a frivolous or stupid proposition as we, for the first time, tried to lobby the Scottish Home Rule cause in the House of Commons. ”

    Dr Gavin Clark, Member of Parliament for Caithness, proposed to the House of Commons the resolution ‘that, in the opinion of this House, it is desirable that arrangements be made for the provision of the Scottish people, through their representatives in a parliament national, management and control of Scottish affairs.

    He said: “I have no desire to abrogate the Union between England and Scotland, and I think the Union has been mutually beneficial – a good thing for Scotland, but a better thing. for England.

    “I frankly admit that while my motion is primarily based on practical considerations, there is a sentimental basis for the growing Home Rule movement in Scotland. We Scots are all proud of our country and its history.

    “An attempt is made here to ignore Scottish nationality. We hear about the English government, and the minister is not called to order for expression. Well, just the other day the Secretary of War talked about the British troops he was sending to Egypt, the Scottish Borderers. ”

    So far so familiar even nowadays.

    Clark continued: ‘We have confusion, lawlessness and chaos in mixed jurisdictions in Scotland, due to the outrageous state of our Public Health Act, but the House never had time. to deal with this subject, and therefore anarchy continues. There are thousands of preventable deaths every year in Scotland due to our shameful Public Health Act.

    “Everyone, even the old Tories across the way, has to admit that change is needed. So what is the cure to be? It must, I think, take the form of a devolution.

    The word had been spoken… and it wasn’t until 1889.

    William Hunter, Liberal MP for Aberdeen North, seconded the motion, correcting the record:; but it is remarkable that since then there has been no sustained agitation in its support by public meetings or in the press.

    “Sir, having decided that Home Rule for Scotland would be good for the country, I then decided to explain my point of view to my constituency in Aberdeen. I had no idea how they would receive it, but I found out very quickly that the constituency was ahead of me, and that the mass of the people had strived for Home Rule to a point that I did not. would not have thought possible. Indeed, I think we won’t have 10 members returning to Scotland in the next general election unless they are committed to Home Rule for Scotland. ”

    Sir Hugh Shaw-Stewart, Old Etonian Conservative MP for East Renfrewshire, rose to oppose the motion:. It would be centralization in its worst form.

    He added: “I think the spirit which animates my honorable friends is embodied in the advice given by an old Scottish radical to a young man about to enter Parliament: ‘Be asking, and when you get something, be complaining that you can’t have May ‘.

    The National:

    UP raised the Grand Old Man himself, William Ewart Gladstone (above), former and future prime minister and Liberal leader: question on his merits.

    “The principles applicable to the solution of this question are, however, by no means obscure or difficult to understand. I believe that Scotland and Ireland are precisely equal before England as regards their moral and political right to assert before the Imperial Parliament any claims which they may regard as arising out of the interests and demands of these respective countries. They are precisely equal in this right, so that if I am to assume a case in which Scotland, unanimously, or by a clearly casting vote, asks the United Parliament to be treated, not only on the same principle , but like Ireland, I couldn’t deny Scotland’s title to make such a claim. Further, I am obliged to say that I have a perfectly firm belief that if such a claim were made in the manner which I have described as the clear and deliberate statement of Scottish opinion, Parliament would accede to it. ”

    What a principled debate, but the vote wasn’t close – 79 yeas, 200 nays, and that seemed like it. But as the Labor movement grew and young Liberal Scots arose, the question of Home Rule for Scotland did not go away, and it preoccupied many minds at the turn of the 20th century.

    In 1913, parliament was ready for another Scottish Home Rule debate and William Cowan, Liberal MP for Aberdeenshire Eastern, put it in place with his Scottish Government Bill.

    He said: ‘You cannot take a Scottish newspaper today with a good chance of not finding any reference to this burning issue.

    “I don’t care who is going to Scotland today, if he talks to someone, if he goes somewhere, if he consults the people, he will find out that it is the most absorbing political subject by Scotland.”

    The SNP contingent at Westminster will acknowledge their forthcoming statement: “The English members will be conspicuous by their absence, or be represented by gentlemen who, having shootouts, fisheries or deer forests in Scotland, imagine themselves to be experts in business. and insist on wasting our time and theirs by interfering in the Scottish debates.

    He concluded: “Is it any wonder that Scotland is tired and demands its own parliament? That it requires its own legislation for land, for the alcohol trade, for education, for housing, for fishing, for ecclesiastical affairs, for 101 matters of purely local interest?

    You can read both debates in Hansard. You will find many sadly familiar points.

    In the very unlikely event that Boris Johnson reads this column, I would like to end with a few words from his great hero, Sir Winston Spencer Churchill. Speaking in his then constituency of Dundee on October 9, 1913, Churchill said: “You will recall how last year I spoke at a meeting in Dundee on this subject (rule of the House). I made it clear that I was speaking for myself. I made it clear that I was not talking about the immediate future, but … raising an issue for reflection and discussion rather than quick action. I have spoken of the establishment of a federal system in the United Kingdom, in which Scotland, Ireland and Wales, and, if necessary, parts of England, could have institutions legislative and parliamentary, allowing them to develop, in their own way, their own lives according to their own ideas and needs in the same way as the great and prosperous States of the American Union and the great kingdoms and principalities and states of the Empire German.

    “I will take the risk of prophecy and tell you that the day will most certainly come – many of you will live to see it – when a federal system will be established in these islands which will give Wales and Scotland control. within the proper limits of their own Welsh and Scottish affairs.

    Of course, the real reason there will never be a Federal United Kingdom of Scotland, Wales, England and Northern Ireland is that Scotland will first go its own way and will regain its full independence.

    Let’s face it, the majority of the British want independence from us, Wales and Northern Ireland. The lesson of history is that federalism will never be enough and that we must all go our separate ways.

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    Home rule

    Home Rule, and the Protestants who took up arms against it

    ‘MY husband Peter is English; he thought he had come to Queens University, Belfast, to go fishing; instead, he grabbed me. Northern Irish writer Ruth Kirby-Smith watches me through a zoom lens from her home in Leeds. We are talking about his recent publication ‘The Settlement’, a book that at that time I had not fully read. Little did I know that two days later I would swallow the final chapters, with the book’s heroine Sarah remaining indelibly etched in my mind.

    Flipping through the velvety pages (the author tells me she didn’t personally choose the lavish paper), the reader finds himself immersed in a turbulent period in Ulster’s history, albeit less so. mentioned. The year is 1914 and Ulster Unionists are reeling from a 1912 Home Rule Bill proposing to grant self-government to Ireland. Fiercely opposed to measures that would place them under the authority of a Dublin Parliament, they formed a paramilitary force – the Ulster Volunteers – to resist the movement by force of arms. A world of political turmoil unfolds, with Nationalists installing the Irish Volunteers in direct response.

    With a focus on the Protestant community and the “big house” of Lindara, the characters in “The Settlements” are all wrapped up in the Protestant political movement of the time. Ruth says that although she used names, people and places from her childhood home in the countryside south of Belfast, it’s not all based on family experiences.

    ‘Protestant but not Orange is the best way to describe my family. We loved the South, going to the ‘Free State’ – Rathmines in Dublin – on vacation; I knew more about the Easter Rising than what happened in the North. (The book contains a superb account of the Shelbourne Hotel in the aftermath of the rising.) “It was only after my father’s death that I began to research this period of history by North Ireland.”

    Now 72, Ruth is no stranger to the most recent ‘Troubles’ stating that she nearly blew herself up twice on Belfast’s Bloody Friday in 1973.

    Ruth admits that “Chapters 3 and 4 are the real story of my father; I grew up with stories of him being kidnapped and his parents coming to take him back; the letters in the book are real – I actually have them in my possession The book is peppered with a lot of characters from my past, including my grandmother who was quite stern and proper I remember the big house and afternoon tea on the horsehair dining room seats , the colonel leaning on his gardener.

    Previously working as an urban planner and entrepreneur running a successful baby bag business, Ruth wanted to be a writer. “I’ve always told stories; I knew I had to learn to write with that voice, but I could never find a story that grabbed me. I went to a creative writing course in Leeds. It wasn’t until Dad’s death that I started looking into his time. The whole anti-home rule movement got me; I knew then that I had a story to tell.

    The story grew out of a process of asking and answering questions about his ancestry. ‘My father was placed in foster care when he was 3 days old; the obvious question was why? A wealthy family, I began to ask what was going on in their lives. Dad was born in 1919, so I watched that period ten years beforehand. It was while reading about this particular period in Ulster history by Jonathan Bardon that I thought – what an incredible story! I didn’t know half of this stuff. People I knew who had studied history hadn’t even found out.

    Originally Ruth Brown, to her knowledge, her family was not present at Carson’s mass meetings or directly involved in the Larne gun-running incident so clearly described in the book, but that was the times in which they lived. Importing arms from Germany, central Ulster The Volunteers were averted by the outbreak of the First World War she so poignantly describes, the Southern Irish Volunteers fighting the same war under Redmond (and incidentally, importing weapons from similar sources into Germany).

    The 1916 Battle of the Somme, disastrous for the Ulster Volunteers, took place on July 1, at the start of the marching season. The tragedy, born in the battlefields “was mourned in the fields of Ulster during this long and sad summer. Through it all, the harvest had to be brought in and the animals fed and cared for. There was no respite for sorrow in the round of daily toil.

    As an author from a Protestant background, was it difficult to be objective? ‘No, I loved it. That’s what I wanted to do. I didn’t want to write with one voice so I chose a heroine who didn’t take sides; a free-thinking anti-homeruler. To some extent, there’s a bit of me in there. I question things and I’m very open to Ireland. I was in politics in Queens during the civil rights era; almost everyone I knew in the student body was for civil rights. I didn’t want good guys and bad guys; I wanted the main character to question everything. I did not want to promote the Protestant cause. I had to balance it.

    When Sarah’s character becomes involved in the arms trade in Larne, she only felt drawn in because everyone she loved was involved. “When they needed me, my loyalty to them was greater than my own managers. In doing so, I had betrayed myself a little. The writer uses overtly simple language, somewhat unusual for a novel; no one “shivers” or “shivers” or any of that nonsense; instead there are descriptions of a “face as long as a Lurgan spade” or, during an unwanted pregnancy, of “finding yourself in a real pucker”.

    The author credits his simple writing style to years of compiling reports, however, he realizes in this writer that perhaps his simple writing skills boil down to his “no frills” Presbyterian background. Alliteration pledge is fine to describe something like outfits at a Venetian masquerade ball, but certainly not for hard-working Protestants in Northern Ireland.

    Stating that Belfast was the industrial center of Ireland at this time with both shipbuilding and an extensive flax trade, Ruth reiterates that the main concerns of the anti-House rulers were trade; the focus of his book, Samuels’ Flax Mills, supplies the British war machine with everything from tents to bags of kit. “Now with Brexit 100 years later, it just resonates; the ‘settlement’ referred to throughout the book is about money, not religion or politics.

    “My vision for the book is that readers will learn more about Northern Ireland. An English friend who read it recently said he was intrigued, researching the story, previously unknown to them, as he read’ adding ‘Having grown up in Northern Ireland, although I kept some basics, I don’t have time for religion.’ In terms of personal exploration, the author says two major themes emerged, the first being a realization that it was probably the Protestants who armed themselves first.

    “The arms trade happened on April 24, 1914 when the UVF raised money to drop arms at Larne, the moment of real violence in the South came later during the Rising of Easter 1916; I found that surprising. My next surprise was the resonance today with all the trade issues. These were also at the forefront of the minds of most Protestants at the turn of the last century, apart from their fears of being subsumed by a dominant Catholic culture.

    The settlement is a good torn thread woven around family, love and hardship, with business, madness, murder and debt thrown into the political quagmire. “I want people to like the book; not only because of the good characters and the story, but also because of the fun of learning about a time or place they knew nothing about. I want the reader to write it down and say “it was a great story, but I also learned something”.

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    Self government

    Congress monitors the implementation of the European Charter of Local Self-Government in the UK

    A delegation from the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe followed the application of the Charter in the United Kingdom from 21 to 23 June 2021.

    The delegation was composed of the co-rapporteurs Vladimir Prebilič (Slovenia, SOC / G / PD) and Magnus Berntsson (Sweden, EPP / CCE). They held meetings with local and national authorities in the UK to assess the implementation of the Charter. The previous monitoring report and recommendation on local and regional democracy in the UK were adopted in 2014. All meetings were held remotely due to the current health crisis.

    The rapporteurs had an exchange of views on the latest developments in the field of local government in the UK with officials from the Department for Housing, Communities and Local Government as well as with the Chairman of the Housing Committee, communities and local governments of the British Parliament. Remote meetings were also scheduled with the Statutory Deputy Mayor of London and representatives of the Greater London Authority.

    The delegation had also scheduled remote meetings with officials from the Scottish Department of Social Security and Local Government, the Welsh Parliament, the Assembly of Northern Ireland and the Office of the Secretary of State for Wales.

    The Congress delegation met with members of the UK National Delegation to Congress, the Local Government Association (LGA), the Northern Ireland Local Government Association (NILGA), the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA), as well as members of Edinburgh. Belfast City Council and Mayor.

    The resulting report will be examined by the Monitoring Committee at one of its forthcoming meetings.

    The UK ratified the European Charter of Local Self-Government in 1998. Countries that have ratified the Charter are bound by its provisions. The Charter requires the implementation of a minimum set of rights which constitute the fundamental basis of local self-government in Europe. The Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe ensures that these principles are respected in the 47 member states of the Council of Europe.


    Stephanie POIREL, Congress of Local and Regional Authorities
    Secretary of the monitoring committee
    Telephone: +33 (0) 3 90 21 5184
    e-mail: [email protected]

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    Home rule

    Andrew Tickell: Home Rule in this reactionary UK would not answer our problems

    WHEN a DUP politician says “with my cold, dead hands,” you don’t expect him to wave a handful of sausages. But he stood there, Cro-Magnon, recreational naturist and East Antrim MP Sammy Wilson under a poster with the caption “Ulster is British.” Sammy doesn’t want to save Ulster from salami, but to deliver the Six Counties from the evils of Northern Ireland Protocol.

    While Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal provided for the prospect of a physical infrastructure of border posts, it instead drew an effective regulatory border along the Irish Sea. This allowed Northern Ireland to remain in the single market and exclude the rest of the UK from it. The deal included rules on importing chilled meats – including Sammy’s handful of nods – from Britain to Northern Ireland. These rules were due to come into force in the spring, but the British government has decided to give itself a little more time to meet its obligations without discussing them with its European counterparts.

    After unilaterally extending the grace period, Boris Johnson and his ministers have now decided that the “brilliant” deal they struck with the EU27 is now “excessively cumbersome”. Just as the burdensome commitments of fidelity in your wedding vows can be resolved by taking a ‘flexible and pragmatic approach’ to fidelity, Captain Impunity believes the harshness and reprimands of the EU should ease and view the protocol as guidelines rather than rules. After all, what is a little bit of a friend offense?

    And now the UK government and its struggling former Democratic Unionist Party allies are staging, seemingly without irony, the storyline of a famous episode of Yes, Minister in real time.

    According to Edwin Poots – the new DUP chief after Arlene Foster was ousted in April – the EU is trying to starve the ordinary population of Northern Ireland. “Processed meat is typical of foods that would be sold in Iceland and other stores,” he said. “It is very often the lower paid people who use these pizzas, lasagnas and various basic products. ”

    I guess that’s not quite what Gordon Brown had in mind when he talks about the Union as an instrument of social justice. The people’s banger is a deep red, despite its modest meat content, chilled or not.

    Not to be outdone, Boris Johnson’s Environment Secretary took to the airwaves to give the nation a touching speech about the condescension and culinary bigotry of our European friends and allies, protesting that he did not ” no idea “why the EU was imposing” idiosyncratic “rules on the mystery. meats crossing market borders. But the member for Camborne and Redruth had his suspicions.

    READ MORE: High cost of Brexit for Scotch whiskey companies described in Commons

    “I suspect it has to do with some sort of perception that they can’t really trust a country other than an EU country to make sausages,” George Eustice told Nick Ferrari. “I think this is nonsense. I think we have a very good sausage industry in this country, we have the highest food hygiene standards in the world ”, closing this noble address to LBC listeners with the moving finale:“ There is no problem with our sausages or even our chicken nuggets.

    Now there is a slogan to put on your tanks. The scandalized meat factories of Lincoln and Cumbria unite.

    They say that the laws are like sausages: it is better not to see them being made. This British government succeeded in combining the two unsightly exercises. But the concocted “sausage wars” are very much in keeping with the political absurdity that propelled Boris Johnson to and helps keep Boris Johnson there.

    When he was starting out as a European correspondent for the Telegraph, a young Boris Johnson specialized in serving this kind of charcuterie to the indignant gammon of the newspaper, which swallowed up any history of Eurocrat diktats worthy of employment. , published by editors cynical enough to give their readers what they wanted no matter how economical their featured correspondent’s copy was.

    EU-mandated banana smoothing, bans on the sale of cocktail shrimp crisps – these kinds of Brussels tales were not only the preserve of our future Prime Minister.

    They have been a staple of right-wing Eurosceptic media in Britain for decades, reliably generating screaming headlines stoking imaginary grievances against the bloc, skillfully repackaging deregulation, lower welfare standards and less environmental protections like worker preference, and all the rest like unofficial, foreign namby-pambyism, “elf ‘n safety”.

    READ MORE: Brexit caused UK services sector to contract by over £ 110bn

    This kind of reactionary simplicity is absolutely at the heart of this government’s emotional tone and emotional appeal. It seems appropriate that the Conservatives are now representing Hartlepool. Legend has it that locals hanged a monkey that ran aground on a wreck off the coast because they believed it was one of Napoleon’s spies.

    I’m not sure if this was one of the episodes Jacob Rees-Mogg had in mind when he spoke lyrical lyrics in the Commons last week about how we should all be proud of “our wonderful story”, but by the 18th century, the conflict between the UK and France was at least real.

    Now we just have a UK government that intermittently talks as if it wants to, and tabloids poised to sink into feverish dreams of war, gunboats and Dunkirk on the drop of a cocked hat.

    I guess this is an emotional distraction from any meaningful self-reflection on Britain’s true place in the world – the fact that Britain is now a solidly intermediate power, in decline, is consoled with nostalgia as ‘it considers the risk of a new internal fragmentation and the consequent loss of international prestige. Great Britain is not.

    When he signed the Brexit deal, Johnson said it was an opportunity to “put an end to too many years of argument and division”, “to build a strong new relationship with the EU as friends and sovereign equals “and“ to move forward as one country. ”Good luck.

    The figure of the indiscreet Brussels official – and the pantomime resistance to their decrees – is intrinsic to the Tory Eurosceptic worldview. The idea that leaving the European Union would remove such antipathies and suspicions from British politics is powerfully naive – especially when it is so clearly in the political interest of the Conservative Party to allow friction to continue.

    It is in this context that we must understand the remarkable attempts to rehabilitate the idea that the ‘house rules’ are some kind of response to Scotland’s problems, by delegating more power to Holyrood, while leaving the government British as a sort of night watch state, responsible for defense and foreign affairs.

    READ MORE: Alba MP Kenny MacAskill suggests Home Rule could heal ‘divided’ Scotland

    First, this argument comes from a place of political unreality. This British government has no interest in this kind of reform program. On the contrary, this conservative administration has shown all the desire to reduce – rather than expand – the sphere of delegated authority. But more fundamentally still, why would anyone want the UK to retain these responsibilities?

    If the sight of Boris Johnson dragging his pocket across the sands of Carbis Bay doesn’t convince you of the benefits of an independent foreign and defense policy, look at it. If the state of health services is important enough that you can delegate them, if education, justice and the environment are issues you would like to see addressed in Edinburgh rather than London, why would you want to questions about who and in what quantity do we sell bombs, against whom do we wage an aggressive war – to be determined by Her Majesty’s Government in London?

    “Sticking with Britain for the ships, the bombs and the opportunity to kill and be killed in the country’s future wars” seems to me to be one of the craziest cases for the Union yet conceived . If you are prepared to reduce the role of the British state so far, why insist on leaving these critical issues in the hands of Boris Johnson, Dominic Raab and their successors?

    Does your political experience really suggest that this is a smart plan?

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    Home rule

    Support for independence will increase unless Wales wins Home Rule, Drakeford told Johnson after big election victory

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    Prime Minister Boris Johnson (left) in yesterday’s speech broadcast on BBC One. Mark Drakeford (right), Welsh government photo.

    Prime Minister Mark Drakeford called for Home Rule for Wales after securing Labor’s biggest joint victory in the Senedd election on Thursday.

    The Prime Minister said interest in independence would only increase in Wales unless the UK government allows the country more autonomy.

    The Welsh Labor election manifesto called for the federalization of the UK, as well as the devolution of specific powers such as the police and the judiciary.

    The Tories, who ran on a platform more aligned with the UK government, won just one more constituency – while two parties vowing to get rid of the Welsh parliament failed to secure any seats.

    Mark Drakeford told the Financial Times the result gave Wales “leeway” to reform the UK in a way that would give it “real stability”.

    “We need a Home Rule for Wales, more powers, a position where decentralization cannot be overruled by the whim of a prime minister,” Drakeford told the Financial Times.

    He added that Johnson’s approach “added to the stress and tensions which undoubtedly weighs on the UK”.

    He cited the UK government’s Home Market Act as an example, which the Welsh government condemned as a “takeover”.

    “The UK government’s action to take powers away from Wales. . . is a recipe for turning the interest in independence for Wales into something more fundamental, ”he added.

    “Better luck”

    Boris Johnson wrote to Mark Drakeford on Saturday, inviting him to a meeting to discuss their common challenges in tackling the Covid-19 crisis.

    The Prime Minister said he would write in similar terms to the Prime Minister of Scotland and the First and Deputy Prime Ministers of Northern Ireland.

    In the letter he said he looked forward to “working with you in the years to come in a spirit of collaboration and mutual respect to serve the people of Wales”.

    “We both share a belief in the enormous potential of our UK – both to be a force for good in the world and to be an engine of security and prosperity for its citizens here at home,” did he declare.

    “The people of the UK, and in particular the people of Wales, are best served when we work together. “

    Mark Drakeford told The Guardian he would tell the Prime Minister he needs to work with the self-governing nations, rather than trying to dictate to them.

    “This is truly a moment that the Prime Minister should seize to reestablish relations across the UK, for serious consideration of how we can create the mechanisms that will allow us to work together in the future,” said said Mark Drakeford.

    “Not an approach that thinks of flying more unions to the top of the building, but appropriate and respectful relations that recognize that sovereignty is now dispersed among four parliaments in which we choose to pool it for common ends.

    “This is the kind of UK that I think will have the best chance of surviving, because it will be a UK where people want to be here, rather than have to be.”

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    Wales believes more in self-government as part of pandemic response

    This is the third part in a series of FT asking if the UK is heading for the break-up. Follow UK politics and politics with myFT be alerted when new parts are released.

    Lleucu Haf Wiliam receives a special birthday present this year: his first vote.

    On May 6, her 16th birthday, she will use it to support Welsh independence. The schoolgirl will vote in the Welsh parliamentary elections for Plaid Cymru, the party calling for Wales to leave the UK.

    Wiliam, who lives in Barry, a seaside resort in south Wales, said the UK was “London-centric”, with policies designed to help the capital. “By being able to manage our own finances and resources, we can manage things more efficiently and fairly,” she added. “Other countries are doing it. “

    Opinion polls show young people expressing support for Wales’ independence, as polls also suggest Plaid Cymru could secure a power-sharing role alongside Labor in the country’s government after the election next month. Such a result in Cardiff would increase pressure on British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who is preparing for the Scottish National Independence Party to win the general elections in Scotland on May 6.

    Support for Wales’ independence currently stands at 24%, according to the Financial Times poll tracker. A Savanta ComRes poll released last month found a record 35% in favor of Wales leaving the UK.

    Lleucu Haf Wiliam, 16, will vote for Plaid Cymru © Charlie Bibby / FT

    Although support for Wales’ independence is far from the majority, the coronavirus crisis appears to have given Wales a much greater belief in the virtues of self-government.

    Mark Drakeford, Premier of Wales and leader of the Welsh Labor Party, has been praised for much of his work overseeing the country’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic. This is reflected in the way Drakeford approval ratings in the polls are much higher than Johnson’s.

    This is in stark contrast to Wales’ past attitude to self-government. In a 1979 referendum, the Welsh voted four to one against creating their own legislature. In 1997, they narrowly voted for such a parliament.

    The pandemic has highlighted the sheer relevance of the decentralized administration led by Drakeford to people’s lives: it set the terms of the coronavirus restrictions, as well as provided financial support to businesses.

    And at the same time as the Welsh government has imposed itself in the pandemic, London has imposed itself in Cardiff after the UK’s total exit from the EU late last year.

    For example, the UK government withdrew from the EU’s Erasmus program allowing UK students to study at universities in the bloc without consulting Cardiff, even though education is a devolved issue. The Welsh government responded by creating its own program.

    As Wales voted 53% to 47% to leave the EU in the 2016 referendum, Johnson’s hard Brexit prompted young voters to consider their country’s independence, said Lord Peter Hain, who was instrumental in establishing the Cardiff Parliament as a member of the government of former Labor Prime Minister Tony Blair in the late 1990s.

    “Boris Johnson is acting as Prime Minister of England, not of the UK,” he added.

    Graphic showing support for Wales' independence as of March 19, 2021

    Until recently, support for the independence of Welsh was concentrated among Welsh speakers in rural West Wales.

    But the cause is becoming a young urban phenomenon. A ComRes poll last month found 45% of 16-24 year olds were in favor of independence, while a YouGov poll found support in the M4 corridor around Cardiff and Newport.

    Yes Cymru, a multi-party campaign for independence created in 2014 and which now boasts more than 18,000 members, has given new impetus to the cause.

    Mark Hooper, the organizer of Yes Cymru in Cardiff, said Wales’ union with England has failed to tackle poverty and deep inequalities in his country. The gross domestic product per person in Wales is around 75 percent of the UK average.

    He said Wales, by having its own central bank, its own currency and its trade deal with England, could “make sure the economy works for everyone”.

    Labor is hoping to counter increased support for independence by putting pressure on Johnson to give the Welsh parliament more power, while highlighting the UK’s advantages for Wales.

    Drakeford told the Financial Times that Wales could never have obtained so many Covid-19 vaccines as a small independent nation, and also wondered how the country could have its own currency, given that the border 160 miles with England was crossed by hundreds of thousands of people every day.

    Welsh Prime Minister Mark Drakeford
    Prime Minister Mark Drakeford has been praised for much of his work overseeing Wales’ response to the pandemic © Charlie Bibby / FT

    Then there is Wales’ weak fiscal position: in 2018-19, the country had a deficit of £ 13.5 billion, according to the Office for National Statistics. Wales collected £ 2,147 per capita less in taxes than the UK average and spent £ 863 more.

    Drakeford accused Johnson of ignoring the Welsh government and complained about the UK Prime Minister’s hoarding of powers repatriated from Brussels after Brexit. “He’s the best recruiting sergeant for independence they have,” Drakeford said.

    Labor has dominated Welsh politics for a century and has been in government in Cardiff continuously since the creation of the decentralized parliament in 1999. But polls suggest it could lose eight of its 29 seats out of the 60 members of parliament on May 6, which would be his lowest total on record.

    Drakeford, who has been criticized for some of his decisions during the pandemic, admitted it would be a “tough election.” “The workforce.. Had to make extraordinary decisions which had a profound impact on people’s lives,” he said.

    Plaid Cymru and the Welsh Tories could both win election seats, although Labor is expected to remain the biggest party.

    Given that Drakeford has ruled out working with the Tories in the Welsh parliament, the most likely outcome after May 6 is a coalition with Plaid Cymru, as happened once before, after the 2007 election.

    Drakeford said the previous coalition with Plaid Cymru had worked well. “The bottom line is whether there is a political platform on which we can agree,” he added.

    Cymru leader Adam Price throw
    Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price does not plebiscite the price of a power-sharing deal with Labor © Charlie Bibby / FT

    Plaid Cymru pledges to hold an independence referendum if he wins the election, but party leader Adam Price did not applaud the price of a power-sharing deal with Labor.

    “You do not conduct negotiations before negotiations,” he told FT. He would only join a government that would put Wales “on a very different path,” Price said.

    Plaid Cymru promises free school meals for all primary school children, a £ 6bn green infrastructure program including railroad electrification and financial support focused on local start-ups rather than big ones foreign investors.

    Is the UK heading for shattering?

    Ahead of the Scottish and Welsh parliamentary elections on May 6, the FT is examining whether the four nations of the UK are likely to stay together.

    Part 1: What is the economic cost of Scottish independence and can the country afford it?

    Part 2: Does Boris Johnson have a plan to save the UK from shattering?

    Part 3: What is the future form of government in Wales as interest in independence grows?

    Part 4: Is Northern Ireland on the inexorable road to a united Ireland?

    Andrew Davies, leader of the Welsh Tories, hopes to build on the Tories’ gains made in the 2019 UK general election, especially in the Brexit voting areas.

    “Wales does not need five years to discuss constitutional change,” he said. “He needs a government focused on the economy, transport and education.

    Richard Wyn Jones, director of the Welsh Governance Center at Cardiff University, said more decentralization rather than independence was ‘the sweet spot for the Welsh electorate’.

    He added that Labor was stuck in a polarized era, caught between a vibrant independence movement and a ‘recentralizing’ Conservative government in Westminster.

    But Jones said the cause for Wales’ independence would be greatly strengthened if Scotland chose to leave the UK.

    “Young people [in Wales] look at the conservative government [at Westminster] and don’t identify with him, ”he added. “It doesn’t reflect the kind of country they want to live in.”

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    Home rule

    Why Scottish Home Rule is no longer a viable alternative to independence

    The expression Home Rule is loaded with historical connotations. One instantly thinks of Ireland and Gladstone, of Charles Stewart Parnell and Kitty O’Shea, of union intransigence and the Easter Rising and everything that followed, down to the Good Friday Agreement and today’s miserable Zugzwang Brexit.

    Home Rule also plays an important role in the Scottish political imagination. While it lacks association with revolutionary violence and doomed lovers, it still holds a romantic place in the history of the nation’s struggle for self-determination.

    This is elegantly captured in a new book, Scottish Home Rule – The Answer to Scotland’s Constitutional Question, by Ben Thomson, businessman and activist (Thomson also founded Reform Scotland, the think tank I run). Thomson’s argument, as is clear from his caption, is that there is a third path between the status quo and full independence that could allow for a lasting settlement.

    Home Rule has long been the dominant preference among constitutional activists and academics. The Scottish Home Rule Association was founded in 1886 and involved both Keir Hardie and Ramsay MacDonald, as well as Robert Cunninghame Graham, who in 1934 would become the first chairman of the Scottish National Party.

    The demands and language of the association were of their time: “to maintain the integrity of the empire, to secure a Scottish legislature for purely Scottish matters, to maintain Scotland’s position in the Imperial Parliament and to foster sentiment. national ”. But its main objective, clearly stated, could easily come from the mouth of Nicola Sturgeon or perhaps even Gordon Brown: “the right of the Scottish people to manage their own affairs”, because “the Scottish people know their affairs best” . The growing momentum behind the proposal was hit in the head by World War I and the collapse of the Liberal Party.

    Over the years, the meaning of Home Rule has become rather vague, and vague and ill-defined phrases such as “devo max” and “devo plus” have done little to help. All parties have advocated some form of decentralization at some point. John Buchan, Scottish Unionist MP and author, declared in 1932 that “every Scotsman should be a Scottish nationalist”, and in 1968 Edward Heath’s Perth Declaration committed the Conservatives to a Scottish assembly. The work dominated the Constitutional Convention which ultimately led Tony Blair to create the Scottish Parliament. The SNP has its origins in the Home Rule movement and in 2014 Alex Salmond urged David Cameron to come up with this prospect as a third option on the independence referendum ballot because he doubted the separatists could win directly.

    But today, Home Rule is the Cinderella policy of the constitutional debate. Scots are faced with a binary choice between devolved parliament, perhaps with some additional powers, and independence. With polls showing Support for independence above 50 percent, Sturgeon is unlikely to emulate his predecessor by calling for a third option in a second referendum – the odds of success have shifted in favor of the SNP.

    Thomson insists, however, that we think again. An important difference between Home Rule and devolution, he argues, is that under the old sovereignty, sovereignty would be shared between London and Edinburgh. At present, Holyrood is an instrument of Westminster and sovereignty legally rests in the south. This would shift to a federal arrangement, backed by a written constitution, and “mutual respect” between parliaments. Scotland would take control of all national powers, leaving Westminster only those necessary to maintain the Union, such as monetary policy, foreign policy and defense.

    Home Rule is preferable to full independence, says Thomson, because it retains access to the UK market, where Scotland does 60% of its trade, and avoids difficult and possibly damaging decisions regarding currency, debt and the euro. This allows the Scots to retain the international influence that comes with joining the UK.

    Holyrood would be tasked with increasing whatever he spends, bringing greater budgetary discipline and seriousness, and the Barnett Formula would be replaced by a UK-wide social cohesion fund, which would redistribute resources into as needed. All of this could be a precursor to a fully federal UK.

    If this all sounds too good to be true, it probably is because it is. Thomson’s proposals pose a number of problems, one of which is that none of the major parties appear to want to adopt them. But beyond that, the cause of independence moved to territory Home Rule would not deal with.

    For example, Home Rule would not have stopped Brexit. England’s scale compared to other UK nations meant that although Scotland voted globally to stay in the EU, a slim majority south of the border for leave was sufficient for the ‘to take with. The Scottish economy and international associations would always be subject to the consequences of English decisions, whether tax policy was fully devolved or not.

    Foreign policy is another issue. The 2003 Iraq War prompted a number of Scottish leftists to support independence. Here again, Home Rule would not prevent Scotland from having to take part in unpopular conflicts.

    Further, the feeling that Boris Johnson’s government has an exaggerated view of the UK’s global importance, that its values ​​are not shared by a majority of Scots, while Northern Ireland is treated as a well movable, and that the ministers pay only lip service. consultation service, is the driving force behind the current rise in support for independence. It goes beyond domestic politics, into areas of identity, integrity and self-respect that are more difficult to capture in public policy.

    Thomson’s book is worth reading, both as a lesson in history and as a comprehensive, well-argued argument for modern Scotland to take an alternate path. But it’s ultimately difficult to avoid concluding that we are now on another track, and that Home Rule, like Parnell and Hardie, has had its day.

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    Home rule

    Home Rule for Scotland should be an option in any second referendum as well as Scottish independence and retention in the Union – Professor Ben Thomson

    Scottish independence and unionism are often represented by Saltire and Union Jack, but there is a third choice: Home Rule (Photo: Andy Buchanan / AFP via Getty Images)

    This month is the debate on the UK Internal Market Bill, last month the response to Covid; every political subject seems to be polarized here in Scotland between the perspective of unionism and the perspective of independence. It looks like you have to be on one side, that the UK has to be the sovereign state, or the other, that Scotland has to be a separate sovereign state. Yet there is an alternative, which many may see as a better solution to traditional unionism or independence where sovereignty is properly shared. This is called “Home Rule”.

    The idea of ​​Home Rule has been around since the 19th century. The Scottish Home Rule Association was formed in 1886 when Parnell was advocating for Irish Home Rule. There were numerous self-government bills for both Ireland and Scotland, including one for Scotland in 1913 which was passed by the House of Commons. However, none made it through the House of Lords despite Gladstone’s support for the Liberals and Keir Hardie for Labor.

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    Home Rule is where Scotland has full control over internal affairs, including the ability to raise the money it spends, but remains part of the UK. To achieve this, two criteria must be met. The first is that sovereignty must be shared, in other words once autonomy is enshrined in the constitution, it takes the consent of both parties to change powers. Under decentralization, powers are granted and not granted so that Westminster can unilaterally change provisions that affect the Scottish Parliament, as the current debate on proposed new legislation for the UK internal market demonstrates. The only way to enshrine shared sovereignty is through a written constitution that provides the appropriate basis for a relationship based on mutual respect between levels of government.

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    Scotland Needs Home Rule – Gordon Brown

    The second is that the burden of proof should be on the UK government to show why powers should be reserved at Westminster level. This is called the “principle of subsidiarity”. For example, why should Scotland be limited in the way it raises its taxes?

    Currently, it has the power to set income tax rates and directly receives half of the VAT. Why would he not have the ability to decide on the structure of his own taxes to cover his expenses? This is similar to the situation that exists in any of the US states or provinces of Canada where state or provincial governments have much greater control over their own tax system and can create a structure that is suitable. to their industries and to the choices of people locally. .

    Home Rule therefore goes well beyond devolution. This requires a written constitution in which national powers become the sole responsibility of the Scottish government. Thus, in addition to the current devolved areas such as health, education and policing, the Scottish government would become responsible for all social security and welfare as well as any taxes it wished to use for fund Scottish public services.

    However, it is not independence. Under Home Rule, Scotland would continue to be part of the UK and Westminster would remain responsible for a range of vital issues such as macroeconomic management, including monetary policy and currency; defense; foreign Affairs; overseas trade; and citizenship. The UK government would also be able to levy its own taxes in Scotland to cover its share of Scottish spending. It actually strengthens the UK as it then becomes clearer that on these issues the UK government is acting on behalf of all UK citizens. The UK government would act as if the US government were exercising its federal powers in areas such as defense, and there are no special rights for individual states.

    Some would say this is too good to be true – for Scotland to have full control of internal affairs, but benefit from the pound sterling as its currency, no borders and no trade restrictions with the rest of the UK – United and the influence that comes from being part of the UK when it comes to making its voice heard on global issues, whether at the United Nations or on the environment – and the rest of the UK – Uni would not accept it. However, by gaining more control over its own affairs, Scotland can create a better environment for economic success that would benefit both Scotland and the UK. Basically, Home Rule concerns the decentralization of powers where it is appropriate and not sovereignty. The UK is currently very centralized and the Home Rule model would not only be good for Scotland but also for Northern Ireland, Wales and different parts of England.

    One of the trade unionists’ arguments against Home Rule is that it is a slippery slope to independence. I wouldn’t agree, as this is more of a natural step towards federalism in the UK, where such an arrangement is enshrined across the UK in a written constitution. After all, some of the most prosperous countries in the world such as the United States, Switzerland, Canada, Germany, and Australia have a federal model.

    The upcoming Scottish elections will likely be dominated by the constitution and the call for another referendum. If there is another referendum and it is a clear choice between independence and unionism, then about 50 percent of the population will be deeply unhappy with the result. Last time around, Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon both voted in favor of a second question on an alternative to the status quo and independence that was rejected by David Cameron. Ultimately, however, it would have to be the people of Scotland who would choose our constitution and it would be a less successful choice if Home Rule was not on the ballot as the second question in a future referendum.

    Professor Ben Thomson is the author of Scottish Home Rule: The Answer to Scotland’s Constitutional Question, which goes on sale from tomorrow, published by Birlinn

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    Home rule

    Clement Attlee broke the 1945 Labor Party promise of Scottish home rule

    MARTIN Hannan’s profile of Attlee painted a fair picture of a good politician (How Far Labor Has Fallen, July 27). However, it should be remembered that Attlee did two notable disservices to the people of Scotland, in one case intentionally.

    The 1945 Labor Party manifesto included a promise of ‘Home Rule for Scotland’ – something which had passed its second reading in 1914 and was lost without trace after the First World War. When Labor won its huge victory, Attlee decided that “as we have won, Scotland does not need self-government”.

    READ MORE: 75 years since Clement Attlee as Prime Minister shows how far labor has fallen

    Since then, the Scottish people have suffered from this lack of action on ‘home rule’: the sabotage of the Scottish Assembly vote of 1979 when the people voted Yes; the distortion of the 1999 vote, for a parliament with fiscal powers; the theft by deception of 6,000 square miles of Scottish waters – complete with six oil wells and all the fishing, in a successful attempt to further deceive the Scottish people of any oil advantage – was secretly transferred to English jurisdiction. All of these, which have allowed the oppression of the Scottish people to continue and worsen to this day, could perhaps have been avoided if Attlee had honored his manifest commitment.

    Attlee’s government nationalized most major industries – coal, steel, railroads, power, etc. – of Scotland and England, for the benefit of all citizens. But when Mrs Thatcher’s government sold these things – which belonged to everyone and were paid for by everyone – she did not return Scotland’s to benefit the Scottish people, but sold them at a low price to his friends with only a loss for the most part. people (including people from England, Wales and possibly Northern Ireland).

    Attlee forgot, or ignored, that the Parliament of Westminster operates under English law and the undemocratic English version of sovereignty (it resides with “the Crown in Parliament” rather than as in Scottish law “with the people”). This means that no parliament can bind another parliament, and therefore all laws can be changed at will – even by canceling the clauses of the Treaty of Union, breaches of which should render the whole treaty invalid.

    Susan Forde

    I would urge Alyn Smith MP to consider a second career as a folklorist because he can pass off platitudes as certainties like no other national columnist can (Indy will be won on center ground with sound policies, 29 July).

    Of course, independence will only be won by bringing a broad swath of Scottish society into the center of the pitch, but any political ship must be anchored in the economic waters of either left or right analysis. Otherwise it will flounder considerably, as the SNP did in the disastrous Westminster election in 1979, as Scots were unsure what they were voting for beyond independence.

    READ MORE: Alyn Smith: Independence will be won on center ground with the right policies

    The political spin has certainly evolved over the past 40 years, but I can see a situation where, despite very optimistic polls for the SNP at the moment, its ship will run aground on the ambiguity of its policies, which Mr. Smith has the right to argue are “sane” but clearly aren’t.

    For example, he obviously sees the Social Justice Commission working in partnership with the Regressive Growth Commission, but anything the Social Justice Commission does, such as the very laudable project to look at a universal basic income, will be like trying to build a granite house on a sand foundation.

    Smith, the folklorist, would have us believe that it will take up to a decade for an independent Scotland to create its own currency. This fiscal reliance on a Tory-dominated Westminster would allow them to run wild promoting austerity, which would kill “sound” policies like a basic universal income.

    I have no doubt that he is trying to genuinely enthuse SNP members in shaping their policies, but Smith really needs to ask if his colleagues at Westminster and Holyrood will listen. In recent years, the SNP has abandoned its traditional social-democratic ethos in favor of a centre/right economics menu and a pro-NATO centre/right defense policy, with a distinct seasoning of authoritarianism. as seen in both the Gender Recognition Act and the Hate Crimes Bill. It is certainly not a political program that will appeal to the ‘middle of central Scotland’.

    Councilor Andy Doig (Independent)
    Renfrewshire Council

    YET another beautiful eagle killed on grouse moorland in Scotland. How many more will die on a grouse moor in the next five years as we wait for a ‘licensing’ system to start? Close the grouse moors now and encourage them to do something more profitable with the land, like planting trees.

    C Tainch

    IS it just me who thinks it’s ironic that the Prime Minister who has led the UK through more than 56,000 Covid deaths, many of which could have been prevented, now thinks a diet is best for our health, at the same time as it kicks out our food safety standards and importing toxic waste for the masses?

    Murray Forbes

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    Home rule

    the legacy of the Irish parliamentary party

    In August 1940, The Irish Times painted a portrait of the surviving members of the Irish Parliamentary Party defeated by Sinn Féin in the 1918 election. As part of the report, ex-MP John Lalor-Fitzpatrick said that “its members have proved their belief in democratic methods of government; because they returned quietly in the private life, and since then none of them raised a voice against the elected governments or against a verdict of the people ”.

    While the former member’s comments were interesting, they were not accurate. While Lalor-Fitzpatrick has returned to private life, many of his colleagues have not. In the first decades of independence, former home leaders entered politics, opposed governments, and even sought to shape the commemoration of the party and its leaders – in turn setting the tone for de many subsequent arguments about its role in achieving self-government and the thorny issue of sharing responsibility.

    “Old wine in new bottles”?
    David Fitzpatrick described the transition from IPP to Sinn Féin at the local level as “old wine … decanted into new bottles”, but nationally, the level of transfer between politicians was often a longer process than which is sometimes appreciated. Belfast MP Joe Devlin and the Old Order Hibernian political machine remained an important part of nationalist politics in Northern Ireland, but the position in the Free State was different.

    Some former national rulers had moved to Sinn Féin before 1918 and most supported the treaty in 1922 because of the stability it offered, but it does not follow that all treaties were private rulers or that the former Redmondites could always be easily accommodated at Cumann na nGaedheal. In terms of personnel, treaty signatories did not garner large numbers of converts initially – the appointment of Tim Healy (Kevin O’Higgins’ step-uncle) as governor general was a nod to the old constitutional tradition, but also a pique to his former rival John Dillon.

    Former Chief John Redmond’s son, Capt William, for example, turned down an invitation to run for Cumann na nGaedheal in 1923 and was comfortably elected to Waterford as an Independent – local loyalty also visible in the success of his freelance colleagues James Cosgrave and Alfie Byrne. Labor has absorbed some former Irish Land and Labor Association activists while others have found ways to reinvent themselves in the Farmers’ Party.

    In the 1920s, bad memories of the Revolution, Partition, and official disrespect for the accomplishments of Redmond and his colleagues aggravated many recalcitrant leaders – feelings visible in major commemorations of John and Willie Redmond in Ennis and in the southeast. The Irish National League, founded in 1926 by Captain Redmond and his colleague ex-MP Thomas O’Donnell, therefore appeared as an attempt at renewal in the Free State. Composed mostly of former politicians and IPP activists, he polled best where the old party retained its support in 1918.

    In the aftermath of O’Higgins’ assassination and Fianna Fáil’s entry into the Dáil, however, the League attempted a risky coalition deal with Labor and Valera – a botched attempt that ended. as a farce because TD John Jinks did not vote on a motion of no confidence, plunging the League into rapid decline.

    National leaders and the politics of “civil war”
    In the process, Capt Redmond and many colleagues then joined Cumann na nGaedheal ahead of the 1932 election. Yet James Dillon, son of the last IPP leader, and Frank MacDermot, a former Irish Party activist, did not. did not – both remained prominent speakers on agricultural issues, the constitutional status of the state and Irish unity.

    The creation of Fine Gael in 1933 therefore marked the last great absorption of former national leaders into new politics as Dillon and MacDermot’s Center Party merged with the Treaties and the Blue Shirts. In the 1930s and 1940s, between 30 and 40 percent of Fine Gael TDs had traceable family roots – from surviving former MPs and councilors to those with more tenuous ties through family or activism.

    July 10, 1943: James M Dillon (left) is congratulated on his election as an independent in Monaghan.  Photograph: Haywood Magee / Picture Post / Getty Images

    July 10, 1943: James M Dillon (left) is congratulated on his election as an independent in Monaghan. Photograph: Haywood Magee / Picture Post / Getty Images

    A group inviting voters to listen to a speech by Irish politician James M Dillon in Monaghan in 1943. Photograph: Haywood Magee / Picture Post / Getty Images

    A group inviting voters to listen to a speech by Irish politician James M Dillon in Monaghan in 1943. Photograph: Haywood Magee / Picture Post / Getty Images

    Conversions to Fianna Fáil, on the other hand, were rare but notable. Examples include O’Donnell, who joined de Valera’s party after the fall of the National League; Honor Crowley (daughter of former MP John P Boland), elected Fianna Fáil TD in 1945; and Patrick Lynch, de Valera’s opponent in East Clare in 1917, who served as a senator and later attorney general.

    It is ironic that although Fianna Fáil absorbed far fewer politicians from the IPP, its discipline in parliament, its interest in local issues and its ability to build lasting constituency networks within a “movement national ”were more like the old party than Cumann na nGaedheal or Cumann na nGaedheal or Beau Gaël. Fianna Fáil’s admiration for the Irish Party, however, was confined to the Land League and Parnell’s party; Redmond, on the other hand, was ultimately remembered in opposition to the victors of the Irish Revolution.

    A questionable legacy?

    Yet individuals from the PPI have left a distinctive mark on independent Ireland. The initiatives of Dillon and MacDermot to form the Center Party and the Fine Gael helped (albeit unintentionally) to shape the divide between the two major parties – a rivalry, as Mel Farrell noted, also steeped in the years 1930 as the Civil War.

    The presence of former Irish Party members in politics has demonstrated the party’s shadow over Irish political life. It was sometimes a dubious legacy for those who entered politics and it was only by joining those from Sinn Féin that they approached real political power. However, their presence highlights the continuities between Ireland before and after independence, highlighting the tenacity of certain modes of political activism and identity ideas.

    The roles they played in the early decades therefore belies the most extreme notions surrounding Redmond and his supporters – that they were completely forgotten in the new state, but also the alternative view that the former rulers of the interior were so easily rehabilitated that they could easily resume their place at the forefront of the Irish political establishment.
    The Legacy of the Irish Parliamentary Party in Independent Ireland, 1922-1949 by Dr Martin O’Donoghue is published by Liverpool University Press. The book will be launched at the National University of Ireland building, 49 Merrion Square at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, February 19, by Dr Maurice Manning.

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    Home rule

    Rick Steves: Dublin landmarks recall home power struggle

    A walk through the heart of North Dublin recalls Ireland’s long struggle for independence and is a great introduction to the city’s rich history.

    A walk through the heart of North Dublin recalls Ireland’s long struggle for independence and is a great introduction to the city’s rich history. I try to take the time for this walk on each visit to reinvigorate my sense of the city as the beating heart of the ever-evolving Irish nation.

    I start at the O’Connell Bridge, which spans the River Liffey. The river has long divided the wealthy south side of the city from the north side of the working class. From this bridge, I can see modern Dublin evolving: a forest of cranes marks construction sites throughout the city.

    Leading from the bridge into the heart of North Dublin, O’Connell Street echoes history. I like to stroll along its middle tree-lined strip, which brings me closer to many Irish heroes.

    The first statue pays homage to Daniel O’Connell (1775-1847), who called on the British Parliament for Irish Catholics to have civil rights. He organized thousands of nonviolent protesters in huge “monster meetings”.

    The pedestal has many bullet holes, which remain from the Easter Rising of 1916, a week-long rebellion against British rule that was quickly crushed.

    The following statue represents William Smith O’Brien (1803-1864), the leader of the nationalist movement Young Ireland. Compared to his predecessors such as O’Connell, O’Brien was more willing to use force to achieve Irish self-determination. After a failed uprising in Tipperary, he was jailed and sentenced to death, then exiled to Australia.

    Nearby is a statue of Sir John Gray (1816 -1875), a physician and politician who wanted to abrogate the union with Great Britain. You can also thank him for bringing clean drinking water to Dublin.

    Next is James Larkin (1876-1947), the founder of the Irish Transport and General Workers Union. The strike he called in 1913 is considered the first shot in the war for independence. He stands where a union rally erupted into a riot after Larkin was arrested for attempting to deliver a speech – resulting in massive police brutality and several deaths.

    Shortly after the statue of Larkin is the General Post Office, with pillars still riddled with bullet holes. It was there that nationalist activist Patrick Pearse read the Irish Independence Proclamation in 1916, marking the start of the Easter Rising. The building became the headquarters of the rebels and the scene of a bloody five-day siege. Why fight for a post office? Because it housed the nerve center of the telegraph for the whole country. Today, a captivating exhibit brings the dramatic history of this building to life.

    A few blocks away is a statue of Father Theobald Mathew (1790-1856), a leader of the temperance movement of the 1830s. Father Mathew was responsible, according to some historians, for convincing enough Irish peasants to stay sober that O’Connell was able to organize them into a political force. But the onset of the Great Potato Famine crippled his efforts and sent thousands to their graves or on emigration ships – desperation drove Ireland back to whiskey.

    Boldly, at the top of O’Connell Street stands a monument to Charles Stewart Parnell. The monument is surrounded by the names of the four ancient provinces of Ireland and the 32 Irish counties (to the north and south, since it was erected before the Irish partition). Parnell (1846-1891) was the Member of Parliament who nearly won home rule for Ireland in the 1880s – and who served prison time for his nationalist activities. Despite his privileged birth, Parnell envisioned a modern, free and united Ireland as a secular democracy.

    The momentum seemed to be on Parnell’s side. With the British Prime Minister in favor of a similar form of home rule, it seemed Ireland was on the path to independence as a Commonwealth nation. Then a sex scandal erupted around Parnell and he was kicked out of office.

    After that, Ireland got bogged down in the conflicts of the 20th century: awkward independence with a divided island, a bloody civil war and sectarian violence in Northern Ireland in the second half of the century. But since the Good Friday Agreement of 1998, peace has finally reigned on this troubled island.

    Upstream from Parnell, Dublin’s Garden of Remembrance pays homage to the victims of the Easter Rising. This memorial marks the spot where the rebel leaders were held before being transferred to prison for their execution. The Irish flag flies above: green for Catholics, orange for Protestants and white for the hope that they can live together in peace.

    One of modern Ireland’s most touching moments occurred here in 2011, when the Queen made it the first stop on her visit to the Republic – the first for a British monarch to reign in 100 years. She laid a wreath and bowed her head out of respect for the Irish rebels who had died trying to free themselves from her kingdom. It was an extremely cathartic moment for both nations.

    Brexit brings new challenges as politicians explain what Britain’s break with the EU means for the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic. While my brief Dublin walk is over, there is still a lot of history to be made on the Emerald Isle.

    Rick Steves ( writes European tourist guides and hosts tourist programs on public television and radio. Email him at [email protected] and follow his blog on Facebook.

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    Home rule

    Scotland is not so courageous in the push for autonomy

    Schemes for Scottish autonomy date back to just after Gladstone’s introduction of his Irish Home Rule Bill. Indeed, they were then part of what was called the “home rule all round”, leaving the Parliament of Westminster to deal with imperial affairs. On several occasions, Scottish Home Rule bills have almost been passed by parliament. One of them did so in 1978, but was rejected by referendum in March 1979, on condition that 40% of the electorate voted in favor.

    This story suggests that while the demand has been constant, or at least recurring, it has not been very deep or sustained very strongly. If this had been the case, it is inconceivable that home rule has not been achieved to date.

    This shows the significant difference between Scottish and Irish history. Scotland has never been conquered or colonized. He entered into a union with England by a vote of his own parliament. The Scots saw themselves as equal partners in the British Empire. In the 19th century, the Scots were not a submerged people like the Irish, Poles or Czechs. On the contrary, they felt dominant.

    This feeling faded in the 20th century. Early industrialization made Victorian Scotland confident and vibrant. As confidence faded as the old heavy industries struggled between the two world wars, the nationalism that had manifested by then was entrenched, romantic and backward-looking.

    The response to industrial decline was to hold on even more to the British state, which had the resources to alleviate its effects and facilitate the transformation into a new economy – or, indeed, as many hoped, to support declining industries.

    In addition, the experience of World War II reinforced the sense of British patriotism. It was Great Britain, not England or Scotland, that stood contra mundum. Significantly, the major air battles of 1941, although primarily fought in southern England, were unanimously referred to as the “Battle of Britain”.

    For 20 years after the war, Britishness reigned almost unchallenged, despite the apparent success of the Covenant movement of the

    1940s, which called for a vague measure of autonomy. The Labor Party was committed to socialism in one country and forgot its historic, albeit nominal, attachment to self-government.

    It was not until the Wilson years of the 1960s that the decline of British power, and the apparent failure of British governments to stem the economic decline of Scotland from the more advantaged areas of the United Kingdom, gave a new impetus to nationalism.

    It was the rise of the Scottish National Party in the feverish atmosphere of the 1970s that persuaded Labor to introduce a decentralization plan.

    From the start, this was hampered by its internal contradiction. Devolution appealed to nationalist sentiment, but its apparent aim was to strengthen the Union by creating a better government of Scotland within the framework of the United Kingdom.

    Decentralization could therefore only work if it stifled the nationalist sentiment which it also nourished, and because of which Labor had been brought back to its roots as national government.

    The condition for decentralization was that there should be a strong SNP seeking independence; the condition for the proper functioning of any deconcentration project was for the SNP to lose its support.

    Undoubtedly, the unpopularity of the Thatcher-Major government in Scotland made devolution more attractive. Although general policy was made by the Scots and administered by the Scots, it was nonetheless referred to as a ‘democratic deficit’.

    There were claims that the very real and considerable administrative devolution that had taken place should be matched by political devolution in the form of a Scottish parliament.

    After 1987, the Labor Party became involved, in part because of the natural frustration resulting from its inability to translate electoral support in Scotland into political power, and in part out of fears that in the absence of decentralization its support does seep into the SNP.

    We are therefore now on the verge of voting for a Scottish Parliament along the lines proposed in the British Government’s White Paper.

    Its areas of competence will be the parts of government already administratively devolved to the Scottish Office. If we approve it, it will also have modest taxing power and, because of its control over local governments, the power to change local government taxation.

    The modesty of the project could, one might think, recommend it. Yet although the result is likely to be a nice majority in favor, there are still some trade unionists who view the project with suspicion and dismay.

    They do this for four reasons. The first is simple. As the government presents its proposals as, in the words of Secretary of State Mr Donald Dewar, ‘a fair and just settlement for Scotland within the framework of the UK’, Labor has hailed nationalist support who see what is proposed not as a “settlement” but as a step in the process towards independence.

    Clearly the two cannot be right. Therefore, many who are happy to identify as both Scottish and British are inevitably devoskeptics.

    Second, the powers of tax variation, while modest, worry many businessmen. They fear that if Scotland becomes the most heavily taxed part of the UK, as seems likely, they will find themselves at a competitive disadvantage. Their doubts are shared by those who think this is all an expensive extravaganza that will only benefit professional politicians and create more jobs for the boys.

    Third, some of us fear that one of the consequences is the diminishing Scottish influence, which is now considerable, within the UK. A semi-detached country is unlikely to play a full role in governing the whole. Scotland may become more withdrawn and parochial, as was Northern Ireland during Stormont’s time.

    The government’s refusal to attempt any response to the West Lothian question, formulated 20 years ago by now veteran Labor MP for Linlithgow, Mr Tam Dalyell (then MP for West Lothian), who asks why Scottish MPs for Westminster should be able to vote on a range of English affairs, but English MPs should not vote on comparable Scottish affairs, is worrying. Ultimately, the only answer to this problem would be some form of federalism.

    Finally, the proposed regime will create a fundamentally irresponsible parliament because, despite the modest power of tax variation, its income will depend on Westminster. He will have the pleasure of spending money as long as he does not incur the odiousness of snatching it from the people.

    Writing recently on the problems of local government in the west of Scotland, Iain McWhiter (who favors decentralization) suggested that it was important to “restore the local tax base”.

    Part of the problem, he said, was that local councils no longer collected the money they spent. “Nothing could be better designed to undermine civic responsibility. The balance should be restored, with more taxes levied locally and less levied centrally. Councils would then be accountable to their local electorate.”

    He is absolutely right and yet we are being offered a so-called national parliament that will collect an even lower proportion of its income than the meanest and poorest local authorities currently do. Nothing, in its own words, could be better designed to undermine civic responsibility.

    And that, even if one did not see in the proposals an institutionalization of the friction between London and Edinburgh, to the probable benefit of the SNP, this would be a sufficient reason to vote “no” on September 11th.

    Allan Massie is a journalist and novelist who lives on the Scottish borders. He writes regularly for several publications, including the Scotsman and the Daily Telegraph. Her most recent novel, published last month, is Shadows of Empire.

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    Home rule

    Self-reliance for Scotland is the only way forward for the UK | Alun evans

    A A year ago today, Britain’s three main party leaders issued their famous vow, pledging to continue devolution to Scotland if a vote is not taken in the independence referendum, then just 48 time.

    Some saw this as a panic reaction. The Scottish National Party and the Yes campaign seemed to be calling all the shots. Union supporters seemed to be constantly late, playing a constant game of catching up with the moving train of independence.

    If, on September 18, 2014, some 200,000 Scottish voters had opted for a yes rather than a no, we would now be in the midst of the most complex and controversial negotiations to create the conditions for Scotland to become a state. independent nation – and to break the 300 year old Act of Union.

    Since the referendum, and despite its defeat, the SNP has continued to pull the strings. Indeed, last weekend Scottish Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the SNP would set out in its manifesto for next year’s Holyrood election the circumstances under which it might be fair to call a second referendum on independence.

    The first referendum was supposed to settle the issue for a generation. He hasn’t even done it for a year. How did we get to where we are now?

    The rise of the SNP in 80 years has been remarkable: since its foundation in 1934, through fleeting successes in by-elections, a wave in the 1970s and the frustrations of the early attempts at transfer under the Callaghan government, to the wild years of the Thatcher and Major years, and to the settlement offered by Blair in his first term – that many hoped to kill the independence movement. Then he skillfully used his power base in Holyrood to reach a point to force a referendum, almost win it and become the story of a general election in the UK.

    What, if anything, can the UK government do about this SNP-led march of history? Is a second referendum on independence, leading to a yes, inevitable?

    The SNP has overwhelmed the UK on four fronts: politics, politics, personalities and passion.

    Its political stance and strategy have always been in the context of its clear and unwavering ultimate goal of Scottish independence. Initially, his political strategy focused a lot on presenting himself as an alternative to the Tories, focusing on the wealthier parts of North East Scotland. It is not for nothing that opponents of the Nationalists have dubbed them the “Tory Tories”. But in 2015, their grassroots policies (such as free university education and higher public spending) targeted the Labor Party and the seats in the central belt.

    In turn, SNP policies and politics have been led by a remarkable trio of politicians – Alex Salmond, Nicola Sturgeon, and John Swinney. In contrast, no major figure in Britain’s main parties has been wholeheartedly involved in Scottish politics, preferring to pursue a career in Westminster.

    Finally, the SNP showed enormous passion in presenting its case.

    What about the future? Now is the time for the UK to make a big, bold, generous and mature offer to the people of Scotland.

    This offer has to be – whatever name people choose to call it, full fiscal autonomy or devo max plus – ‘UK home rule’, to use the language of Charles Parnell and William Gladstone.

    What would it look like? This could be: the full devolution of taxes and expenditure to the Scottish Parliament and Government, with the exception of reserved areas; full responsibility for domestic politics and spending; full responsibility for energy policy and activity on and at sea; agreement on certain shared responsibilities in the United Kingdom; a framework for maintaining the UK as a constitutional monarchy; a shared economic space with a monetary policy defined by the British Central Bank’s Monetary Policy Committee in which the views of Scotland should be represented; defense and the overall conduct of foreign policy is handled by the UK, but in full consultation.

    But it would take three general conditions. First: economical. This arrangement would, by definition, mark the end of Barnett’s formula for public spending as applied to Scotland – requiring a new, fairer formula to be applied to Wales and Northern Ireland.

    Second: political. The granting of a much greater degree of UK independence to Scotland – self-government – should have a counterpart in terms of reduced political power for Scotland in the parliament at Westminster. The best and fairest answer to West Lothian’s question is that autonomy should coincide with a reduction in the number of Scottish MPs in exchange for autonomy. This would imply a reduction of perhaps 50% in the number of Scottish MPs.

    Third: constitutional. This issue must be resolved for a generation, not for a year or for five years. There may be something to learn from Canada’s experience with Quebec. After its second referendum in 1995 – when the separatist movement managed to achieve only 1% independence – the government reached out to Quebec and sold the benefits of staying in Canada much more forcefully. and passion, as separatist pressure has subsided. .

    Those who believe Scotland remains part of the UK must now do the same to ensure that the autonomy agreement is not immediately canceled. And so a long-term agreement has to state that it is for the long term – even if it has to be written into a new union treaty.

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    Home rule

    Archive: Irish Home Rule and the Ulster Pact | North Ireland

    On September 28, 1912, 237,368 men and 234,046 women in northern Ireland and beyond signed the Covenant and the Ulster Declaration, pledging to oppose Home Rule, then debated by the British government.

    the third autonomy bill – which did not achieve full independence but transferred power from London – was fought by the Unionists, who wanted to maintain Ulster’s position within the United Kingdom.

    A document based on the 17th century Scottish National Pact was written to serve as a solemn oath.

    Manchester Guardian, September 20, 1912: click to read full article.

    He bound those who had signed it to

    supporting each other to defend, for ourselves and for our children, our cherished position of equal citizenship in the UK, and using whatever means may be deemed necessary to defeat the current plot to create an autonomous Parliament in Ireland.

    A separate statement was drafted by the Ulster Women Unionist’s Council in which women are committed to “Let us join the men of Ulster in their uncompromising opposition to the autonomy bill. “

    Ulster Declaration for Women, Manchester Guardian September 11, 1912
    Manchester Guardian, September 11, 1912: click to read full.

    September 28 was declared Ulster Day, and meetings were held across the region to mobilize support. On the same day, many Protestant churches organized special services and many factories in Belfast closed to allow workers to join the crowds at Town Hall; Sir Edward Carson was the first to sign. The women signed the Declaration near Ulster Hall.

    Copies of the document were signed at over 500 locations across Ulster and further afield in England and Manchester over the following weeks.

    Ulster Pact in Manchester, Guardian October 7, 1912
    Manchester Guardian, October 7, 1912: click to read full article.

    Some saw in the Home Rule bill the ignorance of English politicians and party politics. A letter to the Guardian claimed that “to the average Englishman Ireland means a troublesome island somewhere in the Atlantic, where the natives run half-naked over blossoming shillelagh bogs while behind them hides a mysterious known conspirator under the name of “the priest” … ”

    The author suggested that a bill should be drafted by businessmen of all stripes, making it “satisfactory to everyone in Ireland except a few Orangemen and Molly Maguires. ‘

    Letter on the Ulster Alliance, Manchester Guardian October 26, 1912
    Manchester Guardian, October 26, 1912: click to read full.

    The legality of the Covenant has also been called into question and criminal proceedings have been brought against several signatories.

    Ulster Covenant criminal case, Manchester GUardian October 4, 1912
    Manchester Guardian, October 4, 1912

    The Autonomy Bill was adopted by the Commons, but was defeat in the Lords in January 1913. It would have been adopted, but when World War I broke out, the matter was put on hold.

    In October 1912, while the bill was still hotly debated in parliament, the Guardian correspondent in Belfast suggested that, faced with lower than expected turnout, Unionist leaders were forcing “non-voters” to sign.

    He also wrote that “those who put their names on the Covenant on ‘Ulster-day’ are the culmination of militant unionism.” In this he was prophetic; the unionists selected 100,000 men from among those who signed the pact to be trained in the use of firearms as the first force of ulster volunteers.

    Ulster Pact, Manchester Guardian October 18, 1912
    Manchester Guardian, October 18, 1912: click to read full articles.

    Learn more about the Ulster Covenant, search for documents and view original signatures on the Northern Ireland Public Archives Office website, which digitized both the Covenant and the Declaration.

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    Home rule

    The Third Home Rule Bill is 100 years old today. What did it do?

    A SMALL NUMBER of events are being held across Ireland today to mark the centenary of the Third Home Rule Bill – legislation considered by many to be essentially the first piece of legislation that ultimately created the Irish state that we know today.

    But what was this bill – and why is it considered so important? Let’s try to explain the story behind it all.

    We should start with the basics.

    In 1800 the Parliament of Ireland (as it was then called) and the Parliament of Great Britain passed the Act of Union, legislation which merged the Kingdom of Great Britain and the Kingdom of Ireland into the UK.

    The countries had (partially) shared a head of state since 1541 – when Henry VIII quashed Silken Thomas’ rebellion and elevated Ireland from a lordship to a kingdom, and proclaimed himself King of Ireland.

    If at first you don’t succeed…

    The Act of Union, which came into force in 1801, remained in force throughout the 19th century, despite a number of Irish nationalist movements – Charles Stewart Parnell having succeeded in convincing the Prime Minister of the time, William Gladstone of the Liberal Party, to introduce a bill. which would have undone most of the Act of Union, recreating a Kingdom of Ireland with its own parliament (albeit with limited power) – a concept called “Home Rule”.

    Despite Gladstone’s pleas – culminating in a now famous three-hour speech in the House of Commons – this Home Rule Bill was defeated by 341 votes to 311 in June 1886, largely thanks to the rebellion of 93 backbench liberals who opposed the bill because Gladstone had drafted it in secret and without their input.

    Wounded by rebellion by his MPs, Gladstone called a general election later that month and lost power. He returned in 1892 and gave it another chance – but again decided to draft his bill in secret, even excluding his own ministerial cabinet and cabinet from any input.

    Despite this, the bill was approved by the House of Commons in September 1893, but it was already considered damaged goods. Gladstone’s secret redaction had led to a catastrophic financial mistake, massively underestimating the amount of money Ireland should contribute to the UK budget, while tensions between the Tories and the Parnellite nationalist wing of the Irish Parliamentary Party led to regular fights on the benches of the opposition.

    When the Bill was then sent to the House of Lords, the Conservative majority – being staunch supporters of Unionism – were in no mood to be open-minded. The Lords overruled the bill by a vote of 419 to 41 and the motion was again defeated.

    Changing at home…

    In the meantime, although nationalist sentiments remained high in Ireland, British politics underwent greater changes. A dispute arose in 1909 when the Liberals – back in power – pushed a budget through the House of Commons but blocked by the House of Lords (which, due to its composition, had a firm Tory majority), a move seen as a break with precedent.

    Two general elections were held in 1910 in an effort to allow the public to decide whether the Liberals or Conservatives should win, each with inconclusive results. In the end, the only way for the Liberals to retain power was to strike a deal with the Irish Parliamentary Party, trading the support of the 74 IPP MPs for another attempt to introduce Home Rule.

    What followed was a fundamental change in the British political system: knowing that the only way to break the Conservative majority in the Lords was to flood it with new Liberal life members, the Liberals secured the support of King George V to appoint hundreds of new peers. and secure their majority.

    The Tories backed down – happier to retain their majority in a weakened House of Lords than to relinquish their stranglehold on power – and the Liberals pushed through new laws that meant the House of Lords could no longer veto legislation, but only to delay it. The Lords could now only vote against legislation twice: if the Commons approved it three times, it would be sent directly to the King for enactment.

    This done, Prime Minister Herbert Henry Asquith introduced the Third Home Rule Bill in the House of Commons on April 11, 1912 (100 years ago today). This Bill created a bicameral Parliament, with a 164-member House of Commons and a 40-member Senate, and also allowed Ireland to continue to elect MPs for Westminster (although the size of Irish constituencies would become much larger, which means fewer deputies).

    Although the Lords continued to oppose it – and with significant opposition from Ulster-based Unionists, who feared becoming a powerless minority in a country ruled by Dublin and not the more industrial Belfast – the Commons successfully passed the bill three times.

    …and abroad

    There was only one problem: by the time he was adopted a third time and could be sent to the king, a bigger problem loomed on the horizon: the United Kingdom was now part of the Great War.

    Assuming the war would be brief, Asquith rushed through a new suspensive law which put the provisions of the Home Rule Bill and another law, giving Wales an independent church, on hold until the end of the war. .

    The legislation was then overtaken by events. The Great War continued and nationalism was instead expressed through the Easter Rising of 1916. Britain then chose to try to implement Home Rule immediately, but agreed not to. do so unless an agreement is reached on Ulster’s status within the new jurisdiction.

    As World War I continued in 1917 and 1918, Britain found itself short of manpower and attempted to tie Home Rule to compulsory conscription – something rejected by all parties nationalists – and when the United States joined the war, avoiding the crisis, the conflict quickly ended. .

    A blank page

    But with the Liberals now in power for more than eight years and having delayed the election until the end of the war, a general election was called. The Irish Parliamentary Party lost nearly all of its seats to Éamon de Valera’s young Sinn Féin, whose members boycotted Westminster and formed their own revolutionary assembly. This assembly became the first Dáil and declared an independent country called the Republic of Ireland, a decision which led to the Irish War of Independence.

    In 1920 the Third Home Rule Bill (now known as the Government of Ireland Act 1914) was replaced by a Fourth Home Rule Act which divided Ireland into two jurisdictions, the Northern Ireland and Southern Ireland.

    Elections were held to the parliaments of both countries, but Sinn Féín de De Valera rejected Britain’s right to pass laws for the Republic of Ireland. Sinn Féin fielded candidates for the new elections, but these candidates instead formed the Second Dáil.

    Eventually a truce was reached during the War of Independence and the second Dáil sent a team led by Michael Collins to negotiate what became known as the Anglo-Irish Treaty, which the Dáil ratified by 64 votes to 57.

    The result was the creation of an Irish Free State of 26 counties – which slowly ruled out the king’s role and eventually became the modern Republic of Ireland we know today – and the Irish Civil War, fought between supporters and opponents of the treaty.

    Read: French anthem composer and creator honored at Glasnevin

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